When you need time off work due to a loved one passing away you should be granted bereavement leave (also known as compassionate leave). Bereavement leave can be paid or unpaid and this is at the employer’s discretion.
There is no set number of days’ bereavement leave that an employee is entitled to in the UK — it is up to the employer and will be detailed in the employee’s contract. Usually, bereavement leave will be about three to five days.
Family bereavement is the most common reason for an employee to be granted bereavement leave. ‘Immediate family’ usually refers to:
Some employers will also recognise grandparents and grandchildren as close family as well as the parents of your spouse.
However, it is an area which is far from defined, due to the varying nature of human relationships. Some employers will allow you to take bereavement leave if you are grieving the loss of a close friend or extended family.
Try to ask for time off as soon as you can as this will allow you the space to grieve, plan funeral arrangements or the interment of ashes. It also allows your employer to manage the workflow with minimal disruption.
If your loved one has been ill for some time, you may have confided in your employer and had time off to care for a family member, so your employer may have already considered bereavement leave as a request that might follow. If the loss of a loved one is sudden, then a brief conversation with your employer to let them know before you submit the bereavement leave request would be expected.
Your employees’ handbook will usually detail the company bereavement leave policy — how long the leave lasts and whether or not it is paid. Sometimes whether or not you work full-time or part-time might be a factor.
If you do not have a company handbook, request a meeting with your manager or HR personnel to ask what the policies are and ask for a signed copy of them so that you have something to refer to and can avoid any confusion.
When requesting time off and deciding how many days’ leave to ask for, make sure that you account for your mental health as well as financial and organisational factors. You may want to add holiday allowance on to your bereavement leave if you need more time.
After you have had a meeting with your HR department or line manager, put your request for bereavement leave in writing (usually an email is acceptable).
It is likely that you will be feeling emotionally vulnerable so ask your HR department or your line manager to notify your colleagues so that you don’t have to answer the same questions numerous times as this could be overwhelming.
I wanted to thank Memorials of Distinction for providing a very efficient, professional and friendly service which was also extremely quick. My Mother & Father’s memorial was booked and then the lockdown occurred and even through this the Headstone was still erected the company strived to get any outstanding orders finalised before everything shut – your crew also kindly took photographs of the memorial so we could see it or though could not visit at that time and this little extra touch made a huge difference. The memorial is just as ordered and a fitting tribute to my parents.
Ann J. Sent by email: 16/06/2020
Thank you so much for the wonderful stone. I am so pleased with it, even if its something I never expected to have to buy. I had dreaded the process and it’s taken me six years to do it, thank you so much for all your help and patience. I really appreciate it.
Karen Y. Sent by email: 29/01/2020
I can’t thank Memorials of Distinction enough for producing such a beautiful headstone. It was everything and more, that I had asked for. Everyone in the family was very happy and impressed. So thank you again for that miracle.
Lesley, you personally were so kind and understanding throughout the whole process, I’m convinced you may have wings.
Helen D. Sent by email: 11/06/2019
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